< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://caltechgirlsworld.mu.nu/" /> Not Exactly Rocket Science: November 2004

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Joint Press Conference Funnies:

From the US/Canada joint PC live now on FoxNews, Bush just made the greatest line of all time:
"I would like to thank all the Canadian people for coming out and waving... with all five fingers"

Canadian PM Paul Martin's response:
"I learned in Chile that English, French, and Spanish are three different languages, but the sign language is the same"

Update: quote corrected, gist still the same....

Join the fight!

And donate to the Spirit of America with the Fighting Fusileers!
$550.00 so far as of 2 PM EST.

Come on you pansies, Join up and help out a great cause! Click the big pic or the sidebar button to join and/or donate!
Update: It's now up to $700!!! Yay!! Let's keep it up!

Grand Rounds is up

One of my favorite MedBloggers, DoctorMental is hosting Grand Rounds this week, with a great round up of medical themed posts on everything from Lymphoma in Oncologists to Scurvy (had to mention this one in honor of Ricketts Hovse)

Also, while you're there, be sure to check out CodeBlueBlog's Medical CSI post on a lovely woman who was the victim of a terrible medical mistake.

In case you've never dropped by before, Grand Rounds is a lot more than just "by doctors, for doctors". Posts deal with a wide range of health and health care issues, including patient care, drug safety, doctor sanity, and occasionally a very strange case report. It's definitely accessible to the layman and worth the time if you're at all interested.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Well, if you won't talk politics...

I know you're out there, being silent. I see your footprints in the snow of my site meter. Don't worry, I won't bite. much......

How about a more holiday themed discussion, then?

What's your favorite Christmas movie? I'm trying to compile a list of all of the movies I like that are even vaguely Christmas movies. Movies like Die Hard and Running Scared that take place mostly at Christmastime are just as valid as Mickey's Christmas Carol and Jingle All the Way.

Here's my Top 10:
10. Home Alone
9. The Original Grinch Who Stole Christmas
8. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
7. Scrooge (the Albert Finney version of A Christmas Carol)
6. Meet Me in St. Louis (source of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas")
5. It's a Wonderful Life
4. Love Actually
3. Miracle on 34th Streeet
2. A Christmas Story
1. White Christmas

So what do you think? Fill up the comment box!

Arrrrgh. The training wheels are coming off soon...

I hate frickin' Blogger.
It sucks.


Traffic is down everywhere over the holiday weekend, but surprisingly enough there were quite a number of you who braved the malls and the blizzards to drop by at least once this weekend:

I guess y'all had enough of the folks by Saturday, huh?

I think I'm doing pretty well for being out just a month (tomorrow is my 1 month Bloggiversary), thanks to all of you who drop by frequently!

Drop me a comment occasionally so I know who you are! I get about 40-50 unique visitors a day, according to my site tracking, and I only know 3 or 4 of you that drop by. (Probably the kiss of death for my comments...)

So, that being said, let's talk about something I've had on my mind: Last week President Bush turned into Reggie Bush and broke through a line of tacklers to score a Trojan touchdown save his Secret Service agent in Peru, and this week we hear he was nearly assassinated in Colombia. All joking aside, do you think there might be a link, especially in light of this bit at Wizbang (read the update) ?


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Red and Blue: Purple?

This is why I'm not a Harvard professor and Bill Stuntz is:

This is a great post about reconciling red and blue from another rationalist like myself who sometimes feels caught in the middle. He says:
"Churches and universities are the two twenty-first century American enterprises that care most about ideas, about language, and about understanding the world we live in, with all its beauty and ugliness. Nearly all older universities were founded as schools of theology: a telling fact. Another one is this: A large part of what goes on in those church buildings that dot the countryside is education -- people reading hard texts, and trying to sort out what they mean."
(from Tech Central Station)
There's a lot more great stuff there, go take a gander.

As for myself, while I am perhaps less passionate about church per se, I often find myself torn between my "red" mindset and my "blue" lifestyle, job, friends, etc. because it seems so obvious. What is difficult to reconcile is the divide that exists between these two groups outside myself, where it all seems to fit. I've written about this here before, with regard to the election. This, of course, is the logical follow-up to that debate.

The crux of the issue is that "red" and "blue" folks live in two different worlds. Blue people don't mix with red. Blueys somehow forget that the vast majority of folks in this country qualify as red. This would be ok, except that the blue group includes most of the people who control the information flow in this country: MSM, Hollywood, the Press, etc, so the red folks don't get as much of a chance to air their stories, making them, for the most part, the silent majority.

Bill Stuntz has the right idea. Maybe we should focus on what binds us rather than what divides us; reconciling red and blue by focusing on purple.

Update: Wow, I feel smart. He Who Needs No Linkage also linked the piece this morning.

I'm off, it's Basketball season!

It's the first real home game of the year in the church of basketball Dean Dome, and they're playing the Men of Troy. Good thing the USC B-ball team is nowhere near as good as the football team.

Guess we weren't the only ones cheering for SC last night in Chapel Hill.

Anyway, Darling Husband got the tickets for his birthday, so we're going to go and root for both teams (well, what else do you do when you have a diploma from each place???), although I suspect we'll end up cheering for the Tar Heels.

In honor of the beginning of basketball season, the UNC alma mater, Hark the Sound:

Hark the sound of Tar Heel voices
Ringing clear and True
Singing Carolina's praises
Shouting N.C.U.

Hail to the brightest Star of all

Clear its radiance shine
Carolina priceless gem,
Receive all praises thine.

I'm a Tar Heel born, I'm a Tar Heel bred
And when I die I'm a Tar Heel dead.
So it's RAH, RAH, Car'lina 'lina
RAH, RAH, Car'lina 'lina
RAH, RAH, Car'lina

'Neath the oaks the sons true hearted
Homage pay to thee
Time worn walls give back their echo
Hail to U.N.C.

Though the storms of life assail us
Still our hearts beat true
Naught can break the friendships formed at
Dear old N.C.U.

Click the link to hear the music and words by the UNC Band and Choir, and sing along!
Don't forget to stomp.

Update: Tar Heels Win! 97-65. They led by as much as 38 before Roy put in the Frosh.

Friday, November 26, 2004

A REAL American Hero

Sports Illustrated is currently holding their annual poll for Sportsman of the Year. Among the many nominees is a true good sport and especially, a man whose priorities were in the right order, Pat Tillman.

Pat is currently running 3rd in the voting behind Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps. Go vote for Pat and put him in first place and pay tribute to a REAL hero.

The interface is a bit wonky. Go to this page and click on the thumbnail of his face, and then click vote. This is the picture you're looking for:

Then click Vote! I did.
(h/t Dean)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Since it is "Black Friday", it's officially Christmas time!
I hope you enjoy the temporary site redesign. Background courtesy of Pat's web graphics.

I started today at 5:30 am with a trip to the Great Satan (Wal-Mart), followed quickly by Target, Sears, the Gap, and See's candy. Yes, there's a See's kiosk in the mall in Durham. But I'm almost done with the shopping. Need to finish up for Mom, Darling Husband, Nephew, and one friend. The others are done, just need to order one gift basket and a video from Amazon and the rest will be done as well.

Thanksgiving was great, even better because I didn't have to cook! Also entertaining: have you ever seen a pyrex baking dish explode? We just sat down to eat, and we heard a huge bang from the kitchen, followed by the unmistakable sound of shattered glass. The dish got set on a hot burner (which we all thought had been turned off) and well. you know what happened.

So, how was your holiday?

In honor of Googlers

The funniest Google search string yet! I'm #2 for this:
"science research on how many teaspoons of salt does it take to make an egg float on water"

The answer is: 28 grams/liter NaCl

At least it is according to this recipe for what I believe to be the science experiment you were looking for, from Los Angeles Unified School district.

Darling husband also did this experiment with his Biology class this semester....

Carnival time!

I know food and/or cooking is probably the last thing you want to hear about, but:
This week's Carnival of the Recipes is up over at MaryBeth's Random Thoughts.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

well, if the shoe fits....

I'm a Bluemarine girl!
Bluemarine: Soft and subtle and definately
feminine. You are classy and cute with a
little girl all grown up appeal.

What fashion designer fits you
brought to you by Quizilla

Shamelessly lifted from Ith.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Don't be a Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wishing everyone a holiday stuffed full of fun! (apologies to Matt and Trey and Gobbles)

I'm thankful for so many things this year, listing them won't do them justice, but I would like to share my (selfish) top 3:

#3: "well, as long as you're waiting for animals, you might as well start writing your thesis"
#2: "It's an epilus, a benign cyst. They're common in dogs like her"

#1: "Dear Mr. Caltechgirl's Husband, As you no longer have any military status..."

Holiday Posting commences Friday. Those of you who know me in the real world know that I am a Christmas wacko, and I'm planning on extending that to the blog as well....

Update: Dean reminded me of something else I'm thankful for. Thanks, Tony!

This week's recipe!

This is an easy, fairly quick pie to make if you need a sugar rush. Probably a bit late for Turkey Day, but hey, what the heck.

Cinnamon Pie: (originally from allrecipes.com)

1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1 (10 inch) unbaked pie crust

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
2 In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add the
beaten egg, butter, and vanilla. Mix well and add the milk.
3 Pour mixture into an unbaked 10 inch pie crust (glass pie plate is best).
4 Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Let cool and serve.
Refrigerate any leftovers.
When this comes out of the oven it looks undone. It will be liquid-y, but will coagulate as it cools. It is a custard, so have faith. If you're paranoid, a few more minutes in the oven at 350 can't hurt, but watch the doneness of the crust!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

When good Snowmen Go Bad....

Or maybe that's just a typical holdup in the long Canadian winter :)

From Gir.

Goodbye Dan! I don't think we'll miss you very much

Dan Rather "recluctantly" announces his retirement from the Evening News.
From See BS News:
"Rather will continue to work full-time at CBS News as a correspondent for both editions of 60 Minutes, as well as on other assignments for the news division. His last broadcast as anchor will be March 9, the 24th anniversary of when he assumed the position from Walter Cronkite."

Hmm, so he just lost the high profile job, guess that means he f***ed up somewhere, huh?
They even went on to say this:
"Rather, 73, has come under fire for his 60 Minutes report on President Bush's service in the National Guard during the Vietnam War. The report relied on documents that cast Mr. Bush's service in a negative light. Critics charged that the documents were forgeries, and CBS News was unable to vouch for their authenticity. An independent panel is now investigating the matter."

I guess after they fired someone for cutting in on CSI: New York to tell the country another terrorist was dead, it would seem pretty dumb to let the Memo thing slide, huh?

Either that or it was because of this statement (from a speech at Tufts University on 11/18/04):
""I am very critical of some of the people at CBS who make it apparent what their political leanings are," Rooney said. "That's what happened to this thing of Dan Rather's that got out. There's no question they wanted to run it because it was negative towards Bush."

I'm guessing Andy Rooney's off the Rathers' Christmas card list this year.

I can just see this one on Maury Povich...

Evidently identical twins may each be the father of a child in Montreal.
According to CourtTV.com:
"In the case where both brothers test positive, that's where we have a problem," said Myriam Pamphile, who is representing both twins. "There's no precedent in Quebec or Canada's judicial system." Kristine Ashcraft, spokesperson of Genelex, which has provided DNA testing since 1987 and recently cleared singer Marc Anthony in a paternity case, said science will likely not settle this case. "There's no way to tell who the father is. They have the same DNA," Ashcraft said. She admitted that identical twins have slightly different genes due to mutations, but they would be nearly impossible to detect. "In terms of the entire genome, there's a few differences in thousands of genes to look at," Ashcraft said. "It would probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Heh. Can you imagine that screaming match?

Turns out that in this case there is a simple non-scientific solution:

"By the time the child was born, the woman had ended the dual relationship and was only seeing the man who wants paternity, Pamphile said. "The other twin is known by the rest of both families as the uncle of the child," she said. "The man claiming paternity said he has given financial support to the mother, even when she refused it. He saw the child every two weekends." The brother said he did not consider himself part of the case because he is now married and has children. He also said he believed his twin was the rightful father."

But the Mom doesn't want either of them to be the father. If this was Maury Povich, she'd probably be right.....

Monday, November 22, 2004

Culture Clash??

One of the smaller Asian minority groups in this country are the Hmong. These people are a small group, formerly hill people from Laos and Vietnam, who were forced out of their homes after the post-vietnam-war fallout all over Southeast Asia. Many of them fled to camps in Thailand, and elsewhere before coming to the United States (did I mention that the Hmong mostly supported the US during the war and served with US forces?). You've probably never even heard of them unless you live in Fresno, Denver, Raleigh, or the Twin Cities (and a few other places), which all have, or have had vibrant Hmong communities. Hmong culture is expressive and intriguing, as you might expect from a tradition based on oral communication (there was no modern written Hmong language until French Missionaries discovered them in the early part of the 20th century).

Turns out that yesterday's Rampage Hunter in WI was a Hmong from the Twin Cities area, and folks on both sides of the story have been quick to turn this tragedy into a twisted version of he said, she said; only in this case they're peddling he said, he didn't understand.

Activists in the Hmong community and officials in the area have both pointed out the culture clash that apparently exists between Hmong and "white" hunters, mostly having to do with the apparent disrespect of the Hmong hunters for the property rights of local land owners. In this case, the incident seems to have sprung from the Hmong hunter using a tree stand belong to oneof his victims, and on the victim's property as well.

The idea that this man doesn't understand American property rights doesn't jive with what I know of the Hmong community. It's not as if there is no place for personal ownership in their traditional society, IIRC. Furthermore, this passage in particular indicates that there's more to this story:
"The suspect got down from the deer stand, walked approximately 40 yards, fiddled with his rifle in some way ... turned and opened fire on the group," Meier said.

When other hunters appeared on the scene, they also were hit by gunfire, [Sherriff] Meier said. Some of the people suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The shooter used an SKS 7.62 mm semiautomatic rifle, the sheriff said. Two bodies were found near each other, and the others were found over an area of about 100 yards, he said."

By other accounts, he was "hunting" the victims:

"The gunman was "chasing after them and killing them," Deputy Tim Zeigle said. "He hunted them down."
It is unclear whether anyone returned fire. The members of the hunting party had only one gun among them."

AP also reports that the suspect had already been arrested for Domestic Violence, which has been a major issue in the Hmong community in the past.

Local Hmong also fear a backlash from the less-informed among us:

"Ilean Her, director of the St. Paul-based Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, said conflicts between white hunters and Hmong hunters aren't new. She recalled an incident about five years ago near Rochester, Minn., when Hmong hunters were involved in a fistfight after crossing onto private land to hunt. "This doesn't come as that much of a surprise,'' Her said. "What surprised me was the level of violence involved." Her said "lots of people'' in the Hmong community are empathizing with Vang."

In fact, one local "white" hunter was quoted as saying this:
"It's pathetic. They let all these foreigners in here, and they walk all over everybody's property," said Jim Arneberg, owner of the Haugen Inn in nearby Haugen."

Well, at least some people aren't blinded by the cultural differences:
"State Sen. Mee Moua, one of two Hmong legislators in Minnesota, rejected the idea that cultural differences or racism played any role in the shooting. "He's probably crazy,'' she said. She acknowledged that Hmong-Americans feel racism on a daily basis, but, "that doesn't mean you kill people.''
"We're all just speculating that may have been a trigger for him,'' Moua said. "We're all searching for answers. But as we're doing that search, speculation is just speculation.''

Just because this man was from a different culture, we don't need to immediately jump to the conclusion that he was the victim of an uncaring, ignorant native populace. Clearly, the man was disturbed beyond anything that a simple misunderstanding could have created.

I'm not sure which is worse: The willingness of his own community to chalk this up to the eventual outcome of a long-simmering dispute (with guns, nonetheless), or the willingness of the "white" community to blame the suspect's "otherness" rather than his violence or perhaps mental illness.


I updated the blogroll. Some of you will be pleased to find yourselves there :) If I forgot you, and I know you drop by often, let me know.

Ewww, I think

Well, at least I like the little dog on the label

You Are Green Bean Casserole Soda

Vegetarians taste better!

I can't imagine what green-bean casserole soda would taste like.....

Chance of Showers 100%

Rosemary's baby shower starts today, so drop by and present your good wishes to the Queen and the new Prince of All Evil. Fun games and even some prizes, too I hear.

...must knit like fiend......

Sunday, November 21, 2004

This is NOT me

Prestopundit updates on the story of the "Homegrown Caltech Terrorist"

Tech students are famous for pranks, but this was a little TOO much, huh?
This bas-turd gives us all a bad name, even if he was just a grad student, not a Lifer :)

I can't imagine what UASH had to say about it.
And, BTW, just so you know:

U Flick
U Flame

Tour De Force

Mike at Cold Fury kicks butt.

This rant on loony lefty-ism is one of the best things I've read this year. I think it is a must read for folks of all political persuasions. It's a first class reality-check. Also a winner of last week's Watcher's Council awards.

There's no single excerpt that does this justice. Go now.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I'm rad-i-licious

Yee-Haw!!! Given my track record on most '80s quizzes, I was mighty surprised.

But hey, I may be the only person I know who actually knows the names of the Wonder Twins and their monkey.

Zan, Jayna, and Gleek, in case you were wondering. I loved them.

(h/t Gordon of DogSnot)

While you're here...

I can shamelessly promote myself, too.

Go here and nominate me for Best New Blog (Established 2004) and Best of the Top 2500 - 3500 Blogs (I'm 3494 and moving up, according to the Ecosystem rankings)

Nominations will be open until around 11/28

Why are you still here?? Go. The more noms I get the better my chances of getting to the finals :)

Update and things to keep you busy until I feel like writing again...

Committee meeting went really, really well. In fact, they told me to start writing the introduction to my thesis and reformatting the two manuscripts I have completed for thesis publication while I wait for my rats to grow up over the holidays. That's good.

I got nothing otherwise. I am worded out, so to speak, so here are some random mostly non-serious links from some of my favorite reads:

Charles of LGF explains EXACTLY why I voted for President Bush. Love the bit about the shirt-cuffs.

Protein Wisdom's Jeff Goldstein wins the N.E.R.S. Headline of the Week award for his take on this story:
"Bush to Chilean Security Official: "Defeco más grande que usted, muchacho.""
Which roughly translates to "I sh*t bigger than you, buddy" or, in the immortal words of Phil Hartman as Frank Sinatra, "I've got chunks of guys like you in my stool."

Ben and Baldilocks both have interesting things to say about the Pacers-Pistons melee.

Go help Beth and John name Kitty #8. He's a cutey.

Speaking of pets, Citizen and Mrs. Smash have an adorable pooch, Tori.

Helen gives a co-worker his just desserts (pun intended, via Ilyka)

Jay is the ONLY person I know whose recipes all start with "remove lens cap"

Margi has some, well, interesting Christmas craft projects....

Joe Gandleman (as himself) drops a link to the 10 most dangerous toys to give for Christmas. Why are they always the coolest???? I like the carpet skates and the rockets myself...

Joe also fills us in on the World Toilet Summit. Really.

Jay Tea at Wizbang has fond memories of the Muppet Show too.

And finally, the Inimitable Frank J. has another Hate-filled Lefty Cartoon!

Update: Had to add this one: Boudicca has some hilarious advice about lingerie dos and dont's.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Turkey Day Approacheth....

The Carnival is now up here. Hosted by the lovely and soon-to-be-working-again (yay!) Boudicca.

Since it's nearly Thanksgiving, two holiday recipes for the Carnival and your culinary pleasure:

Sausage, Apple, and Cranberry Stuffing:
1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped
3/4 cup turkey stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.
2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
2. Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.
To bake outside the bird (safer, IMO): 350 for 40-45 minutes in a baking dish cover until last 5-10 minutes for that nice crunchy top.

Notes: I like to find sage and rosemary sausage if I can. Pork sausage or chicken will also do nicely, although chicken will be less fatty, and pork, perhaps a little more so. I usually have a big enough turkey that I double the recipe except for the meat, which I add to my taste. Also, as written it is super dry, so add up to 2 cups of chicken broth/stock.

Easy Cranberry Sauce:

2 pkgs Cranberries
1 orange zested (may also use orange and tangerine zest)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 cup OJ (fresh squeezed)
1 cup tangerine juice (fresh squeezed, can use just OJ if tangerines aren’t available)
2 cups Brown Sugar

1. In Sauce Pan, combine cranberries, orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, Juice, and enough water to cover (cranberries will float, don’t over do it)Bring to a boil on high heat.
2. Immediately reduce heat and simmer about 1 hr or until sauce has thickened to the consistency you want. Let cool and refrigerate in a covered container.

Makes a TON, and keeps forever if sealed tightly. Great if your family loves the stuff.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Note to self:

(hmmm... somehow this looks different than it did last time I was here.....)

Never NEVER be so desperate to get $$ that you take a job they would hire an undergrad for.

Go Ben!

Tomorrow is another busy day....

... and an important one. Those of you who have done the binge and purge that is Graduate School will understand immediately when I say that I have a committee meeting in the morning. Not a spectacularly important one, mind you, mostly just a progress meeting except for two things:

1. My actual thesis advisor is leaving for a new and more fabulous post at a major research university in the NYC area on Jan. 1.
2. I would like to be done in time to turn in everything by April 15 so that I can participate in the Doctoral Hooding this year at May graduation(I will be done and gone by the time they do it again in Spring '06).

(I know Ben will get this: The reason the hooding is so important to me is that I had a teacher in HS who told us that 50% of us would never have another graduation, and I want to prove him wrong 10 years later by walking in TWO. That and I want to make my advisor come back and dress up in his academic regalia)

Keep your fingers crossed for me 10:30-12 EST :)

When my thesis gets published, maybe I'll share it instead of jumping on the blog novel bandwagon.....

I thought Chicks were supposed to be from Venus...

Well, at least it didn't say Uranus....

You Are From Neptune

You are dreamy and mystical, with a natural psychic ability.
You love music, poetry, dance, and (most of all) the open sea.
Your soul is filled with possibilities, and your heart overflows with compassion.
You can be in a room full of friendly people and feel all alone.
If you don't get carried away with one idea, your spiritual nature will see you through anything.

Oh Come ON! I had to make that joke!

(h/t: Deb)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Random Thinkage

Boudicca points out that I now have a blog-child, so I guess it's time for me to acknowledge my blogparents. It would be WAY TOO CREEPY to call Ben my blog-father (EWWWWWWWW), so I guess I'll just say thanks to my other blog-parents, Jay and Deb who encouraged me to write down my thoughts somewhere other than their comments page :)

Otherwise I would have two blog-daddies.

Sounds like a bad PC kids' book, but not otherwise bad for my health. ;-)

Someone should put together a blog family tree....

Monday, November 15, 2004

New ideas on Autism, or, Inflammation Really Stinks

Kevin has some interesting news on possible causes of Autism here.
I said some of this in his comments, but this is a little more coherent.

What can I say? It looks promising. We know that in utero exposure to the inflammatory response (specifically, a group of inflammation-related molecules known as cytokines) is associated with increased risk of developing schizophrenia, and that there may be some functional similarities between autistic brains and schizophrenic brains. Not that autistics are schizophrenics, or vice versa, but rather that their brains display some of the same alterations and respond to some of the same medications.

But one big caveat: this is new. NEW. There's not a lot of corroboration in the literature yet. I would hate to see such promising research get lost in the din created by hyperexcitable parents searching a cure or a cause. Remember vaccinations? That was shown to be WRONG (K. M. Madsen ET AL., Pediatrics 112, 604 (2003) and L. Smeeth ET AL., Lancet. 2004 Sep 11;364(9438):963-9.)

Interestingly, on the Johns Hopkins webpage discussing this research, one of the researchers says that he was influenced to do this study because a larger than expected percentage of moms in his clinic were Rheumatoid Arthritis patients, and later he discovered high rates of auto-immune diseases in many of his patients' families. For those of you unfamiliar with RA, it's an auto-immune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the synovium (joint lining) and eventually destruction of the joints. A better description is found here, courtesy of the nice folks at the Arthritis Foundation.

RA sucks. Let me tell you firsthand (pun intended). It doesn't need any more reasons to be a rotten thing to have.

New Pajamas

Longtime blog-reader Paul Burgess has succumbed to the will of the borg blog (by accident, thanks to yours truly, Bwahahahahahaha!) and now favors us with his thoughts (whenever he has time, of course) here. He's also been added to the blogroll!
(h/t Dean)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Programming Notes:

On TV: Tonight's Fox Magazine will feature a story on Tabby, the young Iraqi girl that was brought to this country for life-saving surgery by the efforts of the US Marines and Operation Give. Operation Give was founded by blogger Chief Wiggles, and is supported by many many bloggers, including Dean.

And they think we're just a bunch of acne-ridden, lonely morons in pajamas.

Fox Magazine airs on FNC at 11 EST, 8PST tonight.

In the b'sphere: Carnival of the Kitties is up at Gir's Moosey Fate and Carnival of the Puppies is up at Mickey's Place.

No kitty! That's MY Pot Pie!

Anyone who knows me in the real world KNOWS this is the truth:

You are most like Cartman.
You love to brag on your friends. You are a real fat ass. You love your cheesy Puffs. You love T.V. and your mom's a whore.

What South Park Character Are You
brought to you by Quizilla

Well, except for that part about my Mom....
I do a killer Cartman impersonation, too.
h/t Emily

Saturday, November 13, 2004

New Buttonage!

The new button in the sidebar is from my favorite Caltech Prank of all time, our celebration of the 100th anniversary of Hollywood, and a perfect example of what being a Caltech undergrad is all about. Of course, so is the movie Real Genius, starring Val Kilmer.

But then again, what else would you expect from a school full of nerds who celebrate the annual return to standard time by going into downtown LA to an all-night chili burger joint and trying to eat and return before they left?

And yes, I have completed the "Negative-Time Tommy's Run" in negative time.

Update: Speaking of good pranks, He Who Needs No Linkage points us to a BAD idea for a robot.

Science and Faith: Mutually Assured Destruction?

There has been much debate in the b'sphere over the last week with regard to the relative roles of science and faith in our lives and especially in our classrooms. This after court cases in WI and GA that essentially seek to replay the Scopes Monkey trial.

In the GA case, the Cobb county school district had placed thousands of stickers on biology textbooks in"an effort to get past conflict and to teach good science." However, the ACLU is now challenging that decision based on the idea that the placement of stickers reading:
"This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."
indicates an endorsement of religion, and therefore violates separation of church and state.
I just don't know where to begin. First of all, both Cobb county and the ACLU are wrong. And right. Evolution is a theory. BUT evolution is also a fact.

The theory of evolution, as postulated by Darwin, is that all organisms arise from more primitive organisms, and that as creatures evolve, they become better adapted to fit in their own niche, where niche indicates habitat, symbiosis (where applicable), and predator/prey interactions. Therefore all life is interrelated and arose from a common ancestor shared with even the most primitive prokaryote.

The facts of evolution are that evolution is ongoing. Evolution is the adaptation of species to their environment and is a well-documented, active process usually described as "the survival of the fittest". I could cite several examples of this, including the marine iguana of the Galapagos and the dome-shelled or saddle-backed varieties of Galapagos Tortoise. But my favorite example is the British Pepper Moth. In a census of pepper moths conducted by Oxonian scientists before the Industrial revolution, the majority of these moths were found to be very white with tiny black spots on the wings (as if they had been sprinked with pepper). Many years later, another census of these creatures found them to have significantly more black spots than their ancestors. The reason? Because Pepper Moths live on the walls and roofs of buildings and in the tops of trees. Before the IR, they could camoflauge themselves on the white walls of buildings or light colored bark of some trees. After the IR, these buildings and trees were significantly darker due to soot deposited from early factories. Darker moths were less likely to be obvious prey for passing birds, and therefore were more likely to survive and pass their genes along than whiter moths.

Another great example of evolution in action is the FACT that we humans share 99.5% of our DNA sequence with Pan paniscus, the Bonobo Chimpanzee (click on the link to meet Kanzi, a remarkable guy that I've met) and about 99% with Pan troglodytes, the Common Chimpanzee.

Yes, a theory is open to debate. Yes, parts of it are reassessed every time we add something to the fossil record (the new hominid find in Indonesia, for example), but somethings we know. For example, we know that getting a flu shot prevents getting the flu (Sorry, Gandelman), we know that regulating your blood sugar level keeps you alive longer if you are a Diabetic, and we know that DNA is the recipe for you and me and the Elephants and the Trees and the Bacteria on the sink.

This is something that Mitch touches on here. It's the difference between asking a question you can answer and a question you can't answer. Sadly enough, it's a distinction that I wasn't taught until Graduate School, and one that most people would do well to grasp in these days of my politics and your religion and Black and White and 60,000,000 morons.

We can ask: Are humans related to mice? When did humans arrive in North America? Where do we come from?

Question 1 and 2 are questions we can answer, Question 3 is not. That doesn't make it a rhetorical question, though. It just means we can't answer it now, we don't posess the technology, and we have theories, which are open to revision.

But that poses an interesting problem for those of us who are Christians and who are scientists. What are we to believe? You might think that this is not an issue, that most scientists are not particularly religious, but in my experience, the opposite is frequently the case. Albert Einstein famously said "God does not play dice" with regard to the Universe, and Stephen Hawking has stated more than once that "Science does not disprove the existence of God". Many great scientists and mathematicians are deeply religious, and their drive to understand the nature of the universe comes from their desire to understand the great and mysterious works of God.

So what about evolution? I can only say for myself that one theory doesn't preclude the other story. The fossil record, to date, supports the order of creation according to Genesis for the most part, except for the timeline, and with a few notable additions (dinosaurs, for example, are nowhere to be found in the Bible. Ask any 7 year old boy). If you see creation in Genesis as a story, or even as an allegory, it's not hard to reconcile theory and story, but if you are a literal believer, that is, if you believe that the entire universe was created in 7 EARTH days, you've got more of a problem. Of course, then you probably also believe that Methuselah was also 900-something when he died, which I have never been able to understand.

But where does any of this leave science education? Do we teach children that evolution is a theory with out mentioning creation? Can we avoid the subject altogether?

The most obvious answer is for the last: of course we can't. Our students are already the dumbest in the western world, depending on which test results you believe. But then some would have you believe that we must go about the task of teaching our students without stepping on anyone's toes. This is patently false, and that should be dead obvious. Evolution in the origins of life is the only issue that raises so much controversy based on religion. Certainly there have been a lot of debates about various forms of sex ed based on religion and morals, but no one disputes the veracity of the information being taught based on religion. And no one raises a stink when we teach our children that antibiotics will help an ear infection or strep throat, even though Christian Scientists believe that prayer alone can heal.

Furthermore, I find it disturbing that we CAN teach children about adaptation, about sexual selection, and about "survival of the fittest", yet according to the state of GA we have to tell them that it's possible that this phenomenon spontaneously generated a couple of hundred years ago, and fossils of dinosaurs with wings and beaks and feathers don't tell us that birds developed from dinosaurs. This idea of educating around the offense of everyone doesn't leave us with much to put in the textbooks.

It seems to me that this line of reasoning has only one possible outcome: that kids who learn that science is only partly true and that faith is only partly important will learn nothing about either science or faith, and especially nothing about how we use both science and faith as guiding principles in our lives, regardless of what we believe in.

(h/t to Deb and Juliette for links to some of the works cited above)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Guilty! The dirty motherfcuker is Guilty!!!!

That lying scumbag chicken lollipop Scott Peterson was convicted this afternoon of 1st degree murder in the death of his wife Laci and 2nd degree murder of their son Connor.

Maybe they convicted him because he cheated on his beautiful pregnant wife, maybe they convicted him because they thought he did it, either way, I don't care. He deserves whatever he got. Everything. The pain, the rage, the PRISON RAPE.

What a fcuking moron. Just divorce her if you were unhappy, you sleazebag sociopathic dickwad.

I hope they sentence him to death and he dies slowly and painfully.

Also, what kind of numbfcuk dumps his wife's body right where he tells the cops he was fishing? Hello. Leave the marina and dump her ANYWHERE else in the bay if you don't want to get caught.

His lawyer, Mark Geragos NEVER showed up for the verdict reading!!!!!!!

Good for the jury for seeing through the charade that Geragos presented. Sometimes you know someone is guilty just by who they hire (eg Mike Peterson and Rae Carruth hiring David Rudolph).

Props to Amber Frey for being such a class act through all of this. I hope she and her children can get on with their lives now. Are you listening to me Fresno? I know you aren't but I can try.

Damn, the chick on CourtTV is crying now.

More later when the talking heads put their two cents in.

The Carnival is Up!

This week's Carnival of the Recipes is up courtesy of The Common Virtue. There are quite a few yummy looking recipes. Go check it out!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Magical Mexican Mystery Meat!

Another great Crock-Pot recipe! This one is quick and yummy, a hand-me down from my mother-in-law. Easy to put roast in before work and meat will be ready by dinner time. Can be used to make tacos, burritos, enchiladas, meat for nachos, etc,

Marilyn's Easy Mexican Beef

2-3 Reg. size jars of your favorite salsa (enough to cover meat, I usually use Pace Medium)
1 large boneless roast (2-3 lbs or more is ok. Whatever fits in the Crock-Pot. The cheaper and fattier the roast, the better)
Tortillas, cheese, refried beans etc. to make Tacos or Burritos

1. Put roast in crock-pot (if there is a fatty side, put it up)
2. Pour salsa into Crock-Pot over roast.
3. Cover, and turn Crock-Pot on and set to Low. If roast is not thawed, set to high.
4. Let cook ~8 hours or until tender. Shred meat between two forks and use with juices to make the dish of your choice!

My mother-in-law doesn't cook a lot, but this is a huge hit in their house and it's a pretty frequent item on our menu as well.

I have resisted posting about this, but

After being bombarded with opinions on this guy from a number of you on your own pages, I just wanted to point something out, that I hadn't noticed until I shared this rant with my Darling Husband. When Jay of Wisconsin says (Ed. note: he has now changed his name to Johnathan Swift, BTW):
"Cause we fu**ing founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fu**ing sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fu**ing blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fu**ing monuments are up here in our backyard?"

Hello chicken-lollipop!!! Where the fuck do you think WASHINGTON and JEFFERSON were from? VA is a red state in case you hadn't noticed, and I suspect this country might be around without EITHER of them.

And I'm not sure what he considers to be Wisconsin's back yard, either...

Update: Neal Pollack's response to J.S. Pretty sage advice, I'd say. (h/t:

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I wasn't going to post anything else today but...

Two interesting posts:

Acidman Rob is on a roll with a post here about the differences between the residents of blue states and the residents of "Jesusland", or what I like to think of as home, with follow-ups here and here (rant alert!). Deb has a similar post, from a different perspective, here.

If things go as planned....

blogging will be light to non-existent today 'cause it's my birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to me (28 -gasp-) and the US Marine Corps (229, Semper Fi indeed)!!!!

other auspicious events (thanks to The History Channel):
1889: birth of actor Claude Rains
1925: birth of actor Richard Burton
1928: Coronation of Emporer Hirohito of Japan
1942: Nazis begin Vichy occupation
1970: first casualty free day in Vietnam since 1964
1989: First full day of freedom in East Germany
2004: "Official" death of Yasser Arafat(?)

Update: It's also PoppaBear's (Mr. MommaBear) 78th birthday! Go here and wish him well!
(h/t: Ken S.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Audience Participation Special!!

This post from Anita at Fighting Inertia got me thinking.

What are the best books you've read recently? Fiction and non-fiction are both ok, as long as you didn't HAVE to read it for work :) Old books and new are also acceptable.

Here's my reply to Anita, as a starter:
Hands down the best recent book I've read this year is Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. Not fiction, but what a powerful story. Also The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, which really straddles the lines between fiction and non-fiction as Larson "fills in the gaps" of an amazing true story.

Fiction I liked: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon; Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani; and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.
I have a lot of time to read during my behavioral experiments, as you can tell.
Other recent reads: Dark Tower 6 and 7 (aka Metafiction 101 and 102) by Steve King and perennial night stand residents The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, Insomnia by Steve King, and (my favorite book of all time) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (unabridged, as unabridged as I can find).

Now it's your turn, What's on your reading list?

No, he didn't sit on a chocolate cake first....

Dockers Khakis: $34.99
Amusement park admission: $42.00
Crapping your pants like a baby all over the internet: Priceless!

Hope he brought a change of clothes.....

Shamelessly stolen from This Dude (I had to make it a little more PG though)....

Grand Rounds

is up over at GruntDoc.
Interesting medical roundup this week: Everything from Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer outlook to some interesting theories about the mysterious illness of Yasser Arafat (and none of them are about AIDS) and many other interesting stories.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Today's goofy quiz: (from Da Goddess)

You are a cardinal! You love to try & get others into trouble, even if you have to make up lies...NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!
You are a cardinal! You love to try & get others
into trouble, even if you have to make up
lies...NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!

What Monty Python Sketch Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Gratuitous Python Goodness:

Cardinal Jimenez(Michael Palin): NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is suprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency....*three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no...*Amongst* our weapons....
Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Election roundup

The NYT has a great article on how the democrats are sweeping up the remains of the campaign and trying to learn lessons for 2008 here. An excerpt:
Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana said: ''We need to be a party that stands for more than the sum of our resentments. In the heartland, where I am from, there are doubts. Too often, we're caricatured as a bicoastal cultural elite that is condescending at best and contemptuous at worst to the values that Americans hold in their daily lives.''

Also of note: Excellent NC governor Mike Easley (I voted for him!) is being mentioned in the 2008 pool. Hmmm.

On the Republican side: From the WaPo and MSNBC: Karl Rove talks strategy, and how he was able to win the election for his friend and President. Interesting bit about GWB's role:
Rove said that when he and Bush first talked about a reelection strategy in December 2002, the president, anticipating a race that resembled 2000 in its closeness, laid out a series of requests. He wanted a strategy designed to enlarge GOP majorities in the House and Senate, not what he called a "lonely victory." He wanted more emphasis on grass-roots volunteers. And he told Rove he wanted a campaign about big things and big issues, not "mini ball," and finally said he wanted to leave the Republican Party "stronger, broader and better."

Finally: Be glad we live in a country where contested elections are settled in the courts, not the streets, like Mexico (funny that all of the liberals fleeing the US want to go North, eh?) Also from the NYT, the story of the tragically ended life of Mayoral candidate Guadalupe Avila Salinas:
"She did more for people than any mayor," said her cousin, 61-year-old Emelia Salinas Salinas. Referring to the local authorities, Ms. Salinas added, "But what was good for us, was bad for them, so they killed her."

Sadly enough, I'm reminded of P. Diddy's implicit threats....

Funeral plans

Since Yasser Arafat is not dead yet, and is evidently IMPROVING steadily, it makes perfect sense for THIS to be taking place in Israel. Sure.

Give it up, PLO spokespeople. We know he's dead.

Go here. Read this.

Kate of Electric Venom posts a moving tribute to Warriors who leave home and family to serve in uncertain places and times. Read it.

As a former Army wife, I can empathize with her feelings. I too felt guilty that my love was safe in CONUS, while others deployed, even though I still felt the terror of waiting for those orders, that in our case thankfully never came.

Hat Tip: Joe Gandelman as Dean

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Dealing with Dementia

Shrinkette, a psychiatry resident in OR has a great blog and frequently has really interesting things to say about mental health issues. Today she touches on an important issue in the mental health profession: The increasing incidence of dementia as the population ages and the difficulties that doctors and families face in dealing with dementia patients. Imagine how you might react if you suddenly were unable to remember how to do the things you do everyday. Surrounded by strangers in unfamiliar places, how would you react? She presents a great roundup based on this NYT article(may require registration, sorry folks), and several AD resources for more information.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I hate people like this

This quack is another dude who gives science a bad name. His project was to scan Republicans and Democrats using fMRI, a technique that measures changes in blood flow in different parts of the brain, and see how their brains work differently when viewing the different candidates. If you read the article carefully, you'll see that this is little more than a hyped-up technological lie detector. Further, the researchers seem to be trying to decide if one party has a superior brain, although they didn't find any structural differences, which is good because then the Daily Mirror can't use this research to support it's cover story....

This is the most interesting part, though:
"Nonetheless, some differences appeared between the brain activity of Democrats and Republicans. Take empathy: One Democrat's brain lit up at an image of Kerry "with a profound sense of connection, like a beautiful sunset," Freedman said. Brain activity in a Republican shown an image of Bush was "more interpersonal, such as if you smiled at someone and they smiled back."
Which is what I have been saying all along. Democrats associate Kerry with a concept, "Anybody But Bush", while Republicans see Bush as a man they know and feel comfortable with. Also this:
"And when voters were shown a Bush ad that included images of the Sept. 11 attacks, the amygdala region of the brain - which lights up for most of us when we see snakes - illuminated more for Democrats than Republicans. The researchers' conclusion: At a subconscious level, Republicans were apparently not as bothered by what Democrats found alarming."

This dude is trying to insinuate that Republicans are insensitive, gung-ho GI Joes who want to take over the world, consequences be damned; while the democrats were more sensitive to what happened on 9/11. Give me a freakin' break.

The amygdala is the area of the brain associated with fear and fear memory. I'm guessing that Republicans were less fearful because the images reminded them of the strength and leadership of the President in the days following 9/11, and how that comforted a grieving nation, Republican and Democrat alike. Democrats probably only thought of horrible images and how the President was reading about a goat.

But this is BY FAR the best part:
"When viewing their favorite candidate, all showed increased activity in the region implicated in empathy. And when viewing the opposition, all had increased blood flow in the region where humans consciously assert control over emotions -- suggesting the volunteers were actively attempting to dislike the opposition." (emphasis original)

No Dillweed. Wrong. They were trying to stifle their dislike and pay attention, like you asked them to. We don't actively like or dislike. We actively SUPPRESS like or dislike.

The story goes on to discuss "neuromarketing", how brain scans are being used to decipher people's secret likes and dislikes for the marketing of products and services, including Chrysler and Mercedes automobiles and movies (a study carried out at my alma mater, regretably). I predict this will die as soon as some corporate goon realizes that a simple survey will give you the same damn results for a pitiful fraction of the cost. Utilizing the technology in this way is nothing more than a hyped up Uber-technological lie detector. Plain and simple.

Of course Republicans and Democrats have different reactions to the candidates. If you like liver, you and I would have different reactions to a plate of liver and onions. DUH.

Finally, I agree with this guy:
"This is a story of the corruption of medical research," warned Gary Ruskin, who runs a Portland, Ore., nonprofit organization called Commercial Alert. "It's a technology that should be used to ease human suffering, not make political propaganda more effective."

Science is about science. The pursuit of knowledge has one supreme purpose, to improve the world by unlocking its secrets. This is crap, its purpose solely to inflame and reiterate that which any child could understand, the division of us and them.

Hat Tip: Patterico (who was initially asked to be a part of this experiment, even though he ended up not participating and asks some good questions about this pseudo-science, with good discussion in the comments) (Sorry I forgot to include that earlier... I was somewhat miffed at the time)

An Auspicious Day!

Today is a great day in the B'Sphere:

Go wish Deb a Happy Birthday!

And wish LaShawn a Happy 1st Blogiversary!

Buckle Up!

Backcountry Conservative Jeff Quinton was in a terrible-looking car accident yesterday that involved hydroplaning, smashed guardrails and roll-overs. He walked away with just a scratch (literally) thanks to his seat belt. See the pictures of his former Ford Explorer here, and the story about what happened, here, then go wish him well, as I'm sure he's one sore puppy today. If you don't normally wear one, think twice about JQ and buckle up!

Recipe Time!

The Carnival of the Recipes is up for this week.

UPDATE: Pouting over. My email sucks and Dave is such a nice guy : )
Go visit him over at The Glittering Eye, and read some of his interesting non-cooking-related stuff!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Now is the time in Blog-land when we dance!

At least those of us who are willing to dance with Aaron and President Bush....
** Finish your drink before you click the link and scroll down**

Yummy Piggy Goodness

My first submission for the Carnival of the Recipes:

This takes time, so it's almost a weekend thing, but well worth the wait. Can be made with a nice beef brisket if you don't want to eat pork... I realize my southern friends are probably issuing death threats on my head for daring to make the sacred pig in a crock pot, but actually, it comes out the same and you don't have to go out in the cold and check the fire every 30 minutes.

Update: This should fix the HTML errors that those of you still running IExploder were seeing. Get FireFox! (see sidebar)

Blasphemous NC barbecue (a.k.a. Crock-Pot Piggy)

Time: 8 hours + overnight, largely unattended

4 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons ground coriander (or any coriander-containing premade rub that doesn't have a lot of salt)
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
½ tablespoon Cinnamon
½ tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
(makes close to enough for 2 roasts, store in a Ziploc sandwich baggie)

1 pork butt roast, 5 to 6 pounds

1 ½ cups apple cider (unfiltered)

1 small lemon, juiced ( ½ -3/4 cup of juice)

Barbecue sauce (sometimes called Dip):
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (may substitute cayenne, but as written is damn near close to Bullock’s sauce)
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl. Drizzle into meat.

Covered, leftover sauce will keep about 2 months.

Yield: About 2 cups.


1. Mix dry ingredients together in bowl, using a fork to break down hunks of brown sugar. Put Boston butt roast in crock pot, apply spice rub to pork butt with your hands, covering meat entirely one side at a time, turning roast until entirely coated, wiping any spilled rub up from the bottom of the pot and using it to coat subsequent sides of the roast. Roast should end up fat side UP.

2. Add Cider and Lemon Juice to crock pot, being careful not to wash spice rub off of the top of the roast.

3. Cover with lid and cook on high 4 hours. Turn meat. Cook 4 more hours. Turn meat again (if possible) and turn power to low. Leave crockpot on over night.

4. Let cook on low 10-12 hours (including overnight) (meat is done by this time, but the longer it sits, the more fat is melted (improves texture)). Turn off crock pot, and let meat sit, covered, about 45 minutes because otherwise it is TOO HOT to handle.

5. Pour meat and liquid into a LARGE bowl with a colander to separate meat from juice. Be sure to remove the bone(s) at this time.

6. Dump meat and fat bits from colander into another LARGE bowl. “Pull” the meat (shred between 2 large forks) until in bite size shreds.

7. Make up barbecue sauce. Mix in with meat, serve or let stand in refrigerator. Tastes even better later !

Yield: 10 to 12 servings, if you’re lucky.

No caption needed...

From Wizbang!
There's just nothing more I can say....

Some GOOD news about Spam....

Now if they'd just make spam commenting illegal......

Outside the Beltway has the scoop:

From the WaPo:
"Two North Carolina residents yesterday became the first people in the nation to be convicted on felony spamming charges after a Loudoun County jury found that they flooded tens of thousands of America Online e-mail accounts with unsolicited e-mail, prosecutors said. Jeremy Jaynes, 30, and his sister Jessica DeGroot, 28, both of the Raleigh area, were found guilty of three felony charges each for using phony Internet addresses to send large volumes of e-mail ads through an AOL server in Loudoun. The jury recommended that Jaynes spend nine years in prison and that DeGroot pay $7,500 in fines for violating Virginia's anti-spam law. A third defendant, Richard Rutkowski, 30, also of the Raleigh area, was acquitted of three felony counts."

Wow. 9 years and $7500.00. I guess they're serious. Read the whole article.

Seeing red? Cliche-ridden rant below.....

The official county by county results map from 11/2/04:

Obviously the vast geographic majority, as well as the popular majority, of this country voted for Bush. Blue counties represent urban centers (for the most part) or holdout hippie bastions of back to nature (see the north coast counties of CA). Yet the democrats have been all over the TV and internet in the last two days implying that the vast huddled masses who voted republican are stupid or worse, that there must be some kind of conspiracy, or else people were tricked into voting for the Devil (some woman called one of our local morning shows here, ranting about how 59 million Americans voted for the devil).

Occam's razor people. Occam's razor. If you voted for Kerry and you don't know what I mean, shame on you. You're the high and mighty educated ones, right? I'm the lowly brainless peon, according to you.

There must be, therefore, a simpler explanation. How about this: President Bush is not an idiot, or a chimpanzee, or the Devil. He's a sincere, funny man who honestly believes all of the things he says, and you know this because his beliefs don't change every 5 minutes. He connects with most of this country on a deep level and give people the confidence that their President sees and hears their problems. Not so Kerry. Yes, both are rich white men. Both are successful and have beautiful families. But President Bush somehow manages to transcend that and remain "one of us" . That appeals to people.

It seems almost ludicrous for me to be saying some of these things, as those of you who know me in my "real life" know that I feel out of touch with the rest of the world a lot of the time. People don't know how to react to what I do. I live and work, as I have often said, in an academic ivory tower. I can't count on my fingers anymore the number of Nobel Laureates I know. I spend my days trying to understand the minutiae of the chemical machine we call the human body. All of my friends here do the same. It feeds on itself, in a way. Yet, as I strive to remain in touch with myself as both a middle class girl and an academic woman, I see the fundamental problem that divides our country.

It's not religion, as was suggested at today's Presidential PC. It's not wealth. It's not even education, really. As I see it, the divide in this country is about how we perceive each other. We are two Americas because we perceive two Americas. We see ourselves as Us and Them, as rich, snotty, arrogant, academic sophisticates and/or poor, struggling, less educated rabble.

We're no different from each other. The dean of my school has to go to PTA meetings and stop at the grocery store on the way home from work. My school librarian mother has to balance church work with committee meetings and still does the work of two people because of budget cuts. I know a Nobel laureate who has to take naps every afternoon as if he were a kindergartener. And yet we see each other as something else entirely.

For myself, I relate to President Bush because I see my own struggle in him. He is a smart, successful man. Smarter than almost all of you give him credit for. I mean, for goodness sake, you have to be smart to know to surround yourself with the kind of people who work for him. And yet he retains what some would call the "common touch". He sees through the divides between us and relates to us all as equals in a way that makes us feel comfortable. That's not to say he's the greatest guy ever. He's made some bad choices and done some really dumb things, maybe even some illegal things, but he wears a lot of that on his sleeve.

That's why the majority of Americans voted for Bush, IMO. Because they respected him and connected with him and when it came down to making a choice, they chose the candidate who was the man they were voting for, not the candidate who was not the man they were voting against.

So in order to come together, as the Beatles said, we need to get off of our respective high-horses and realize that the grass is exactly the same on the other side of the fence, no more or less green, irrespective of who has to mow it, and that every issue before our nation, from gay rights to homeland security affects ALL of us, and that the principles upon which this nation was founded compel us to support a fairly elected government TOGETHER and move forward to solve some of our problems.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Guess who's back?

Watching the President's acceptance speech right now, and guess who was front and center with their family?
Mary Cheney and her partner
I guess now that they're not a campaign issue any more they've come out from the undisclosed location where the Cheneys spent so much of 2001 and 2002......

Update: Tony Blair solidifies his position and congratulates Bush live. A Bush victory saves Tony's rear in some ways. What he says is "terrorism is bad and a Europe/America alliance led by Bush and Blair is urgent for stopping terrorism" (paraphrased) . It remains to be seen how the British elections go this year....

Poetry contest!

Michele is running a post-election limerick contest inspired by this post from Treacher.

Here's my entry:
There once was a pol named Kerry
Whose wife named Ter-AY-ZA was scary
He tried to give Bush the boot,
But the point it was moot
Because the voters of Kerry were wary!

There's a $10 Amazon gift certificate on the line. What can you come up with?

Ok, I'm done

Gloating phase complete.
Cheering phase beginning.

Phone Call for Mr. McAuliffe.......

Rawhide! (Shamelessly lifted from Rusty Shackelford)

It's Over!!!-- The _REAL_ Wictory Wednesday

Unless Waffle Boy flip-flops again.

Kerry has already spoken to the President. Kerry will speak to his supporters at 2pm and Bush will speak from the White House at 3pm.

Gee, I wonder what they're doing with all that GELAC money and all those lawyers THAT THEY WONT NEED ANYMORE!

More to come....
Update: I agree with Smash. John Kerry is far more of a gentleman than I gave him credit for:
Thank you, Senator Kerry, for not dragging us through another contested election -- although I didn't vote for you, my esteem for you just went up a couple of notches.

More here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Quasi-Live blogging the results:

7pm: IN, KY, and GA for Bush. NH for Kerry. VA and SC too close to call yet. So far no real surprises.
Electoral total so far: Bush:34, Kerry:3.

7:30 Update:
not surprisingly voters are really split along the issues according to exit polling.....

7:35 Update: WV votes go for Bush. Total Bush: 39, Kerry:3. So far

8:05 Update: We have our 1st lawsuit!!!! LA lawyers are suing to keep the polls open until 10 pm.
New electoral totals: Kerry 77, Bush 66. (FoxNews) (NJ, MD, IL, MA, ME, DE, CT, DC for Kerry) (TN, OK, AL for Bush)

8:13 Update: SC for Bush: Kerry 77, Bush 74.

8:28 Update: Lawsuit #2: OH lawyers win a TRO to get Columbus area polls to stay open long enough for people to vote on paper ballots so they don't have to wait in 4 hour lines for voting machines (and vote after midnight)......
New electoral totals: Bush 102, Kerry 77 (NC, VA for Bush)

8:58 Update:
Are the exit polls wrong? Poll results in FL show Bush doing far better than the exit polls would suggest. What about OH?

9:06 update: Still no surprises. New electoral totals: Bush 156, Kerry 112 (TX,NE,KS,WY,ND,SD for Bush; NY,RI for Kerry)

9:32 update: Finally a new total: Bush 165, Kerry 112 (LA for Bush).

9:56 update: More new totals: Bush 171, Kerry 112. (MS for Bush)

10:15 update: Barack Obama accepts the IL senate seat, and thanks each of his family members individually. FoxNews plays the get off the stage music and goes to commercial.
New electoral total: Bush 193, Kerry 112 (UT, MO, AR for Bush).

10:35 update: Trickling in a little at a time, new results: Bush 196, Kerry 112 (MT goes for Bush).

10:49 More results: 206 Bush, 133 Kerry (AZ for Bush and PA for Kerry).

11:01 Idaho goes for Bush, Washington for Kerry. New total: 210 Bush, 144 Kerry.

11:09 Fuck Florida. ACLU lawyers in Broward and Palm Beach counties are asking for 10 days to mail in absentee ballots that were sent out late, extending the domestic deadline to the foreign ballot deadline. Like these asshats can't get to a poll? Obviously they're home tonight to bitch to the ACLU. And filing at 11pm? COME ON. Like this hasn't been planned for days. Chicken Lollipops!!! New total: 210 Bush, 199 Kerry (CA for Kerry -- 55 electoral votes responsible for the big jump).

11:33 Erskine Bowles concedes. NC now has 2 republican senators. WooHoo!!!!

11:38 FL is almost certainly clearly for Bush. The president is up 300,000 with 94% of the vote counted..... According to Susan Est-bitch on FNC, OH appears to remain desperately in play for the Dems who are hoping and praying that Cuyahoga county votes will deliver the state for Kerry. This doesn't jive with the maps that MSNBC has been showing, where the counties that are still out are more likely rural.....

12:02 CBS has called FL for Bush, so I'm gonna go with that, even if it is See-BS. After all, 97% of the vote is in and Bush is up by more than 300,000 votes New total: 237 Bush, 199 Kerry.

12:18 update: 246 Bush, 206 Kerry (CO for Bush, OR for Kerry)

12:35 The first switch! NH goes for Kerry, as does ME's last vote. New total: 246 Bush, 211 Kerry.

12:41:20 FNC says Bush will take OH and its 20 electoral votes!!! New total: Bush 266, Kerry 211. Three for a tie (AK?????) WooooooHooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

1:00 am update: I hear the fat lady singing. Even Carville is conceding Ohio right now on CNN. FNC just called AK for Bush which makes 269. Eat that Waffle Boy.

God I am so happy that this is a moderate runaway for Bush. Maybe Kerry will do the gentlemanly thing and go away quietly. He's not a stupid man, and probably better than Al Gore. Maybe he will concede gracefully. But probably not. The lawyers are just too tempting, I think.

1:19 Damn it's so funny that See-BS is playing the cautious card tonight. They're at 249-207. Hah!

1:22 The Prez is up 20,000+ in NM and they are all being so gunshy about declaring a winner. Grow some balls, ok?
FNC is on call watch, seems they're willing to call it soon!

1:30 MaryBeth Cahill is hanging on by a thread, disputing Ohio and digging in. Begging for the 250,000 uncounted votes to all be for Kerry so that the Ohio call was wrong. EXTREMELY UNLIKELY. Hume says Kerry would need a "massive proportion" of the uncounted OH votes. I've said it before. Give it up Mary Beth!!!

1:35 "Kerry camp is clearly discouraged" according to CNN.

1:39 President's margin is increasing in OH and up to 7,000 votes in IA. Up by 23,000 in NM. Let's call it already!!!!!!

1:43 Give MN to Kerry. No surprise. New total: 269 Bush, 221 Kerry. Bush's lead is down to 102K in OH, but Bush is gonna win (92% precincts in). Looks like Bush is running away with the popular vote as well! He's up 3.3 million votes + over Kerry at the moment.

1:55 Bush is up 11.5K in IA now. (94% counted, but several Dem. counties left to be counted). Baronne says it is likely Bush will win in IA by less than 1% on FNC.
In NM, Bernalillo county is still out (this is Albequerque, and hard to tell yet). But Bush is up 27,000 votes in NM. Arrgh.... Face it people, it's over. Kerry needs OH and WI and IA and NV to win. That almost certainly won't happen.

2:09 FNC is edging ever closer to declaring Bush. He's up 3% nationally with 85% in. Up 123k in OH. 28K in NM. Just give up Mo-Fo's. Teddy Kennedy is offering his condolences to the Kerrys...... Rock on!

2:22 Edwards will come out later and thank the supporters in Boston, but will not concede according to CNN or MSNBC. I'm too tired to remember which one. Yawwwwwn. Bush is now up by 155,ooo in OH with 95% of the votes counted. Give it up John.

2:28 The Breck Girl is doing the "let's count ALL the votes" spiel. You're 29,000 votes behind in a state with 40,000 votes left and 125,000 votes down in a state with 200,000 votes left, andGod knows how far behind in Iowa since they stopped counting for the night. I'm going to bed at 3 if there is no change. Damn people. New total Bush 269, Kerry 238 (MI and?? for Kerry)

2:45 FNC is calling Bush the "likely winner" and painting graceful exit scenarios for Kerry. Pay Attention, Johnny!

2:48 Hawaii goes to Kerry: Bush 269, Kerry 242. Juan Williams is concerned about the perception of the exit polls and legitimacy of the results (ala FL 2000), and whether or not conspiracy theories abound. Bush wins, and with coattails (increases seats in both houses for his party), a major moment in American politics.
How's this for a stat: GWB is the 1st President since 1988 to get a majority of the popular vote. Clinton never did. There's no way you can say this is an illegitimate election. Bush is "poised for a clear electoral victory, or at least victory in the House"

3:00 Bedtime for Blogger. The fat lady has had her song and now she needs her nap. I'll be surprised if anything changes overnight. The real question is whether or not the Democrats will self-destruct over implausible challenges to the election-- Michael Barrone.